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e-connect 7 October

Date published: 2021-10-12


Let's look after each other. Covid hasn't gone away.

Coronavirus update 7 October 2021

A message from Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Today I need to issue a warning about the challenges the council faces over the coming months in delivering some of its services.

We have all seen in recent weeks how the pressures on the economy ‒ such as driver shortages ‒ can impact on our daily lives. I think it’s right to let you know that councils are not immune from the disruptions faced by other organisations.

These pressures potentially affect the full range of our services, including waste and recycling collections, as well as social care. For local care services, demand is growing and recruitment remains a real challenge. Our local NHS services are also dealing with very high demand for services. As we have seen from the case numbers recently, Covid most certainly hasn’t gone away.

Becky Reynolds, our Director of Public Health, provides an update, below, with clear messages about what we need to do to continue to protect ourselves and our community.

Our staff are working flat out to address all these challenges over the coming months, and I thank you for your patience, understanding and flexibility, particularly when dealing with our staff.

One of the ways that we can meet our challenges and achieve more for Bath and North East Somerset is by working in partnership with other authorities. Last week we met our Wiltshire counterparts to talk through the North-South traffic issues affecting our both areas – in our own case the heart of Bath and Cleveland Bridge, but also felt more widely across our community. It was a very constructive meeting where we expressed the need for a fairer and better way of getting freight to and from the M4 to all the southern ports.

On Wednesday we unfortunately had to close Bath Central Library temporarily due to water ingress. We’re really sorry that at time of writing, we still aren’t able to fully reopen, but you can return books and collect reservations from the Bath Central Library entrance ‒ a team member will be there to help you. We are working closely with the landlord to resolve the issues and we will be back as soon as we can. Meanwhile, our other libraries remain open, as does our virtual library and extensive digital catalogue.

October is Black History Month and we have joined other sponsors to stage the Regional Black History Month 2021 conference on 11 October. From 1-5pm, a range of speakers including David Olusoga, June Sarpong, Stuart Lawrence (Stephen’s brother), and Anton Ferdinand, will share their experiences. The event is open to all and you can register here.

Locally, we are hosting a webinar ‘Race equality in B&NES – progress made and challenges ahead’, on 18 October from 6-7.15pm. To register, please email

Have a good weekend.


A message from Becky Reynolds, Director of Public Health at Bath & North East Somerset Council

Now that we’re well into autumn, this seems a useful time to give an update on where we are with Covid-19 and remind ourselves how we can all help keep Covid at manageable levels, so it has minimal impact on our day to day lives.

In the second half of September, we saw a steep rise in the 7-day case rates in B&NES, reaching a peak of 436 per 100,000 on 29 September and starting to fall a little at the beginning of October. This is following the national pattern.

Our increase has mostly been among children and young people, particularly secondary school age children. There has been some transmission within schools but much of it is happening within households, the wider community, and from social events. More recently we’re also seen an increase in our 40-54-year-olds.
Given the national lifting of restrictions earlier in the year and schools opening this term, we expected to see this rise in September. I know how incredibly challenging it’s been for school staff and parents to manage covid cases in schools as this virus can spread so rapidly, and I want to thank schools and parents for all they are doing to control the spread.
The public health team are in daily communication with schools, sending out guidance and resources, responding to their queries, and helping manage outbreaks. Schools that meet certain nationally set thresholds can put in place extra measures to reduce the risk of transmission such as temporarily reinstating face coverings in communal areas and/or classrooms, staggering break times and entry into schools, having remote staff meetings, and re-introducing one-way systems in narrow parts of the school.
To help schools we particularly encourage the following for parents and carers:

  • Please continue to encourage secondary school age children to test themselves twice a week with the rapid lateral flow device test kits, four to three days apart.
  • If your son or daughter of any age has any of the main COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste), please don’t send them to school. They need to have a PCR test as soon as possible and self-isolate while they wait for the results.
  • If anyone in your household has a positive covid test, the rest of the household are strongly encouraged to also take a PCR test, as people living in the same household are at higher risk of being infected even if they don’t have symptoms.
  • If your child is ill with non-covid symptoms, please don’t send them to school even if they’ve had a negative covid test. There are other winter viruses going around and it pays to be prepared.
  • Thank you to everyone who has had their covid vaccinations ‒ about 78% of over 16-year-olds have had both jabs now, and it’s making a huge difference. I urge everyone over the age of 12 who is eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Both the University of Bath and Bath Spa University have written an open letter to students, welcoming them back for the new academic year. The letter gives an update on the measures the universities are taking to ensure that students return, study and reside in the city in a safe and secure way.

It’s not easy to predict how rates will go over the coming weeks and months. We need to expect to see rises and falls as we move into autumn and winter and more activities happen indoors rather than outside. Going forward we are learning to adapt to a new reality and making changes to the way we live so that Covid has a minimal impact on society. It’s more important than ever to remember the basic things we can all do to protect ourselves and those around us, especially with the winter illness season on the horizon:
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer.
  • Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Get tested and self-isolate if required.
  • If you haven’t done so already, get vaccinated. Plus get your flu jab if you are eligible.
These are the latest Covid case figures for B&NES – please play your part to drive the number down.

Covid-19 update


Travel rules

If you’re travelling abroad and require a Covid-19 test, you need to pay for a test privately and should not get a free test from the NHS. A list of private providers can be found here.

Some countries require proof of vaccination status before you can enter. Read about how you can use the NHS Covid Pass to prove your vaccination status. You should do this before you travel.

You may need to take Covid-19 tests or quarantine when you return to England. What you will need to do depends on:
  • your vaccination status
  • where you have been
Depending on these, you may need to:
  • take a Covid-19 test before travel to England
  • book Covid-19 tests to take after you return
  • make arrangements for quarantine
You should make sure you book any tests early enough, so you can take them when you return to England. Find out about taking Covid-19 tests and quarantine rules when you return to England.

You will need to check foreign travel advice for the countries you want to go to. This will tell you if:
  • the country will allow people to enter from the UK
  • you will need to show proof of vaccination status or proof of a negative Covid-19 test
  • you will need to quarantine on arrival
Foreign travel advice will also tell you if the UK government advises against all but essential travel to the country. Check foreign travel advice for all countries you will visit or travel through.

A new simplified system for international travel has been launched with countries and territories categorised as “red” or “rest of world”. Travellers should continue to check the entry requirements on FCDO Travel Advice for their destination before they leave the UK.

Getting your Covid-19 vaccine

If you're 16 or over, you can get your vaccine in any of the following ways: All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Parents and guardians will receive a letter with information about when the vaccine will be offered. Most children will be given their vaccine at school. Some children are being offered two doses of the vaccine if they either:
  • live with someone who is more likely to get infections, such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • have a condition that means they're at high risk from Covid-19
If your child is eligible for two doses of the vaccine, you'll be contacted by a local NHS service such as their GP surgery to arrange their appointments. Find out more about which children are eligible for 2 doses on

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination for children and young people on GOV.UK.

Walk-in clinics for everyone can be found on the NHS website.

Covid-19 booster vaccines

The NHS is offering a booster vaccine dose to people most at risk from Covid-19 who have already had two doses of the vaccine. Protection given by the Covid-19 vaccine decreases over time. A booster dose helps give you longer protection against getting seriously ill from Covid-19.

If you're eligible for a booster, you'll be offered it at least six months after you had your second doseThe NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have a booster dose. It's important not to contact the NHS for one before they contact you.

The eligible groups are:
  • people aged 50 and over
  • people who live and work in care homes
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19
  • carers aged 16 and over
  • people aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose. To find out more about Covid-19 booster vaccines, please visit the NHS website.

Bath Racecourse bus service changes

Please be advised that the free First Bus service (No. 32) for those travelling between Bath Bus Station and Bath Racecourse for a vaccination appointment has now ended. Instead, you can now take the Lansdown P&R Service (No. 31) from Milsom St in Bath City Centre.

A free shuttle bus service will run from the P&R on the hour and 30 mins past the hour to the Racecourse, returning from the Racecourse to the P&R every 15 mins and 45 mins past the hour, during the following days and times only:
  • Monday: 10.00-14.00 and 15.00-19.00
  • Tuesday: 10.00-14.00 and 15.00-19.00
  • Wednesday: 10.00-14.00
  • Thursday: 10.00-14.00
  • Friday: 10.00-14.00
  • Saturday: 15.00-18.15 (last bus from the P&R is 17.30/last bus from Racecourse is 18.15)
 All buses will be wheelchair accessible. For more information about the service, visit the website.

Self-Isolation Service Hub

Employers made aware of workers that have tested positive, should call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715. Employers will need to provide the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes known as CTAS) of the person, alongside the names of co-workers identified as close contacts.

This will ensure all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive the necessary advice, including the support available to help people to self-isolate where required.

New collect codes for rapid test kits

From this month, you now need to bring a collect code with you when you collect rapid Covid-19 tests from pharmacies. You can get the code here.

Test and collect vanAsymptomatic Covid-19 testing 

Remember: keep an eye out for our mobile test and collect van travelling around B&NES. The van’s locations are published on our website and pick up test kits or have a supervised test. Trained outreach workers will also answer questions about Covid-19 vaccinations.

Also, the test and collect hub in Bath city entre has now moved to New Bond Street. Please do not attend the van or the hub if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19. Take a PCR test instead.

You can also pick up test kits from our libraries in: Timsbury, Radstock, Bishop Sutton, Weston, Midsomer Norton, Keynsham and also Bath One Stop Shop.

Latest council news


Round table talks over traffic issues 

Council leaders and MPs have held round-table talks to address the North-South traffic issues affecting Bath & North East Somerset and neighbours Wiltshire County Council.

Community Contribution Fund open for applications

Local charity, voluntary or community organisations are now able to apply for grants from a £25,000 Council Community Contribution Fund – thanks to the generosity of residents.

Council welcomes ‘game changing’ WECA Prospectus

Funding proposals to revolutionise the way people get around Bath and North East Somerset by creating a sustainable transport network are being hailed by the council’s cabinet member as potentially ‘game changing’ in achieving net zero and tackling the climate emergency.

Gearing up for winter with gritting preparations

The council’s gritting lorries were out on the district’s roads this week, undergoing test runs and driver route familiarisation as they prepare to keep our roads safe and traffic moving this winter.

Health & Wellbeing focus of Area Forum

Residents in the Somer and Chew Valleys are being invited to find out more about the work being carried out to improve people’s health and wellbeing in their area at tonight's meeting of their Connecting Communities Forum.

Council meeting calendar

Do you want to know about decisions being taken by the council and have your say? Please follow this link to the council’s calendar of meetings.

Latest Government guidance


NHS Covid Pass

How to get the NHS Covid Pass and demonstrate your coronavirus (Covid-19) status when travelling abroad and domestically at events and venues in England.

How the Kickstart Scheme works

Find out how the Kickstart Scheme works and check if your organisation is eligible to apply.

Find a Kickstart gateway to apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant on your behalf

Find a Kickstart gateway in England, Scotland or Wales who is already working with the Kickstart Scheme.

Approved Covid-19 vaccines and countries with approved Covid-19 proof of vaccination

Approved vaccines and the list of countries and territories with approved COVID-19 proof of vaccination for travel to England.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) testing before you travel to England

Check if you need proof of a negative Covid-19 test to travel to England from abroad.

Follow us online

You can follow us on twitterfacebook and instagram; subscribe to us on YouTube, read the latest releases on our newsroom and if you sign up on nextdoor we are there too.

For updates on our services visit our website.

Live Well B&NES adults

A brand-new, web-based resource providing information, signposting and support to residents in Bath & North East Somerset has launched. 
Live Well B&NES provides a wealth of useful information, signposting and resources for families, including Ofsted registered childcare, children and young people with additional needs (our SEND Local Offer) and adults needing care or support to live independently.
Information, services and groups are regularly added to Live Well B&NES. If you work with, support, provide services or run groups for children and young people or for adults needing care or support (such as older people, adults with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments, people living with mental ill health), and haven’t already registered - make sure you’re included! It’s free and takes less than five minutes to register.
Find out more:

Future Bright

Do you know someone who is in work and wants to take the next step in their career? Future Bright offers FREE careers coaching, support and access to training. Future Bright Careers Coaches work with local residents to develop the skills and confidence needed to improve their work and pay. Check out the Future Bright newsletter to read about those who have already benefitted from the project.   
For more information go to or give us a call 01225 395555.

Specialised dementia groups in B&NES

Age UK Bath & North East Somerset are starting two new specialised Dementia Groups, which are now running weekly in Midsomer Norton & Bath.

These groups are a safe, fun environment for people to come for activities and friendship. Staff are trained in Maintenance Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which helps concentration, confidence, memory and wellbeing.

You can find out more here or call 01225 466135.

Do you look after someone else?

If you support someone who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, addiction or who needs extra help as they grow older, Bath and North East Somerset Carers’ Centre is here for you.

Their friendly team will listen to any concerns you have, offer practical advice and access to free wellbeing activities to ensure you’re happy and healthy in your caring role. Contact our freephone support line: 0800 038 8885 or email us. We’re available 8:15am-12pm, every weekday.

Support available from the Community Wellbeing Hub

Anybody who is a resident of Bath and North East Somerset can benefit from support from the Community Wellbeing Hub, including those people who are isolating due to testing positive for Covid-19 or being in contact with someone who has Covid-19.

Originally a collaboration between Bath & North East Somerset Council; Virgin Care; the 3SG; Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group; and other third sector organisation representatives, the team can offer a range of support services such as mental health, returning home from hospital, income, housing and benefits advice, emergency food, as well as lifestyle services for help with stopping smoking, getting active or losing weight.

Residents who want to get back to work or change career can now get tailored advice on training and upskilling from a new Employment and Skills Pod. The Pod has been set up by the council and its partners to help people identify the type of job they could do, refer them to training opportunities and gain work experience.

To contact the Hub:
Phone: 0300 247 0050.
Text: 07870 868368
Opening hours: Monday–Friday, 9am until 5pm

If you need to contact the council about its services please ring Council Connect on 01225 394041 or email

Domestic abuse

Southside provides help to people who live in Bath & North East Somerset who are at risk of domestic violence and abuse. The working hours are 9am-5pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-4pm Fridays. Local support services can be found here.

Sight loss support

Sight Support West of England provides emotional and practical support to help people adjust to living with sight loss. Since lockdown this has been either online or over the phone. Now following careful planning, some Covid-secure face-to-face support sessions are resuming on an appointment only basis.

Your Community Sight Loss Adviser will be available at Manvers Street Baptist Church, Bath on the first Wednesday each month and at Midsomer Norton Town Hall on the 4th Thursday each month. 
To find out more, or make an appointment please call  0117 3224885 or email For more information on the full range of services visit

For more useful information visit the RNIB website:

Local agencies and useful links

We have been working closely with local agencies and if you would like to find out more about their work please look on their website: RUHAvon and Somerset PoliceCuro, and Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG.
  • Public Health England updates a daily dashboard:  It includes deaths that have occurred in all settings where there has been a positive Covid-19 test, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. 
  • Latest information on coronavirus:
NHS information on coronavirus:
Visit our Bathnes youtube channel

Tune in

Local radio is a great way of keeping up to date with essential information, if you don’t already you should tune into BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Somerset or BBC Radio Wiltshire.
BBC Radio Bristol BBC Radio Bristol
BBC Radio Somerset BBC Radio Somerset
BBC Radio Wiltshire BBC Radio Wiltshire
Somer Valley FM covers Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield and surrounding villages including Farrington, Paulton, Peasedown, Coleford and Stratton.

Broadcast online and on 97.5fm you can contact at or call 01761 411 755
Somer Valley 97.5FM Somer Valley 97.5FM
Bath Radio is a community radio station which has been operating as a hospital radio station for the past 50 years. It now broadcasts to the wider Bath community. Listen online.
Radio Bath provides local news and information, promotes the city and supports its businesses, charities and community organisations.
Keynsham’s KTCRfm 105.8FM is now broadcasting 24/7.

KTCRfm covers Keynsham, Saltford, Hanham, Bitton, Warmley, Clutton, Timsbury, the Chew Valley and as far south as Temple Cloud. East to the eastern edge of Bath. North across South Gloucestershire to the M4 corridor and west into many parts of Bristol.
KTCRfm 105.8FM KTCRfm 105.8FM

BA1 Radio have been established for a year in Bath and operate from a studio in Southside Youth Hub, broadcasting twelve hours of shows every weekday, focusing on Bath and the local community, including hourly news reports.


call: 01225 941 080
Encourage your 16-17 year old to book their jab today.
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